Magny-Cours: Practice, qualifying notes

Weather: sunny and warm, with temperatures in the high twenties during the hottest hours. PRACTICE 1 BMW AND SEAT AT THE TOP The FIA WTCC has arrived in Magny-Cours for rounds 3 & 4 and the first free practice session has been completed. Jörg...

Weather: sunny and warm, with temperatures in the high twenties during the hottest hours.

PRACTICE 1 BMW AND SEAT AT THE TOP

The FIA WTCC has arrived in Magny-Cours for rounds 3 & 4 and the first free practice session has been completed. Jörg Müller set the fastest lap with a time of 1:49.226 minutes which is a positive start for the BMW Team Deutschland who will be aiming to repeat the success they had with Dirk Müller in Monza three weeks ago. SEAT Sport's Rydell claimed second position on the timesheet, 0.431 of a second behind Jörg, and Priaulx posted a time of 1:49.927 making him the third fastest at this stage. With Dirk Müller fourth and Peter Terting fifth, BMW and SEAT cars filled all the top spots.

Farfus had the quickest of the Alfa Romeo Racing Team cars, 6th best time overall, while Menu headed the Chevrolet team clocking the 21st fastest time. Ford Hotfiel Sport were very busy in the pits as both Klenke and Jäger's cars had engine changes. Swedish driver, Carl Rosenblad completed the best lap of the independent drivers, 1.6 seconds off of Jorg's pace and 11th position overall, just behind Alessandro Zanardi, who topped the list for the Italian Championship.

PRACTICE 2 TARQUINI AND GENÉ BEAT THE MÜLLERS

The fastest lap of the FIA WTCC second free practice session was not set until the very final moments. As some of the cars were returning to the pit lane, Gabriele Tarquini crossed the chequered flag in his Alfa Romeo 156, with his last lap being the overall fastest. Due to rising temperatures, his time was 1:50.465 over a second slower than J. Müller's best time this morning. It was an Alfa Romeo, SEAT and BMW top three with Jordi Gené and Jörg Müller achieving times 0.138 and 0.237 of a second behind Tarquini respectively.

Chevrolet are clearly learning rapidly as Nicola Larini set the 17th quickest time overall, which is a notable improvement from this morning. Ford also had a positive session as both cars participated. Jäger completed a useful 10 laps and managed a best time of 1:53.787.

There was a battle between Rosenblad, Hennerici and Coronel to be the fastest of the Independent drivers with Hennerici emerging with the 10th fastest time of the entire field. Zanardi was again, top of the Italian Superturismo field in his BMW 320i and placed 11th overall.

Roberto Colciago did not take part in the session, due to a broken throttle cable in his JAS Motorsport Honda Accord.

QUALIFYING ANOTHER MÜLLER ON POLE

There will be a BMW, a SEAT and an Alfa Romeo occupying the top three spots on the grid for the start of the FIA WTCC third round which is being held at Magny-Cours tomorrow. It was an immensely active qualifying session with top positions constantly changing between drivers. But Jörg Müller used the cooling track temperature to his advantage to set the fastest time of 1:49.486 on his last lap. He claimed the second consecutive pole of the season for Team BMW Deutschland, after Dirk Müller's in Monza, but also his own second pole in Magny-Cours, considering last year's FIA European Touring Car Championsh event.

Rickard Rydell and Augusto Farfus qualified second and third behind him. In fact, the top three qualifying times were only separated by 0.378 seconds and just 0.719 covers the difference between the top nine times. Gaps were so close that Farfus beat Andy Priaulx for third position by only 0.001 seconds! Alain Menu qualified as the fastest of the three Chevrolet Lacetti cars and will start the race from 15th position. Brilliant progress for the RML-built machine that reduced the gap from pole to 1.9 seconds.

Due to engine changes earlier in the day, Ford drivers Klenke and Jäger will be starting from 33rd and 31st positions respectively. They are separated by De Lorenzi who also replaced his engine this morning.

Young Finn, Valle Mäkelä, qualified as the fastest of the Independent drivers, 12th overall. The GR Asia driver is also competing in the Italian Superturismo and set the best qualifying time in this field. Zanardi, who is currently leading the Italian championship, stopped on the track with four minutes remaining, due to a gearbox problem, which prevented him to improve his 14th position.

On his first outing in the FIA WTCC, Frank Diefenbacher, crashed into the barriers at the end of the qualifying session substantially damaging his RS-Line IPZ Racing Ford Focus. The driver was then taken to Nevers hospital for a check up.

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Jorg Muller , Carl Rosenblad , Frank Diefenbacher , Augusto Farfus , Peter Terting , Valle Makela , Rickard Rydell , Gabriele Tarquini , Jordi Gene , Nicola Larini , Roberto Colciago , Alain Menu